UPDATE: KY Div. of Forestry: Fires Decreased in State

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Division of Forestry says that fires in the Southeast Region have decreased to a point that local resources will be able to manage them through the rest of the fall forest hazard season.

The state remains in a severe drought, however, with open burning still illegal in 101 counties.

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According to a report from the Division of Forestry, 11 uncontrolled fires are still burning in the state, affecting over 5,000 acres. While still not ideal, it is a far cry from the over 26,000 acres that were burning at the height of the wildfire outbreaks.

Weather forecasts are predicting some precipitation through Friday, further hampering the ability of fires to spread.

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11/21/16 11:35 a.m.

100 Counties Still Under Burn Ban, Div. of Forestry Reports Progress

The Kentucky Division of Forestry says that some headway was made over the weekend in fighting wildfires in the Southeast region of the state.

A release says that control was reached on 21 fires Sunday, affecting over 16,000 acres.  The Division of Forestry says that as active fires drop, operations will be downsized, with crews from the Kentucky Fire Commission sent back home at the end of their shifts on Monday.

100 counties in the state remain under complete burn bans.

There are now 19 uncontrolled fires in the state, affecting 12,606 acres.  Light rain is expected Wednesday morning, when there is a 60-80 percent chance of receiving up to a quarter-inch of precipitation.  Additional humidity is also expected to enter the area Wednesday and through the weekend.

11/17/16 2:26 p.m.

Burn Ban Issued for Fayette, Madison Counties

The Lexington Fire Department has issued a burn ban for Fayette County, effective until 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 20, while the Madison County Judge Executive has executed a burn ban in that county until further notice.

The bans are being issued in response to dry, windy conditions in the region.

Residents are asked to avoid setting any fire outdoors until after the ban expires.  This includes refuse, cooking, and construction debris fires.  All open burn permits are suspended for the duraion of the ban.

To report a fire, call 911 in emergency situations, and, in Lexington, 859-231-5600 in non-emergency situations.

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11/17/16 9:39 a.m.

Weather Conditions Show Potential for High Fire Activity

The Kentucky Division of Forestry is warning that weather conditions on Thursday create a “high potential for fire behavior.”

Gusty winds anticipated ahead of an incoming cold front, along with critically dry conditions, means that fires can start easily and spread quickly.

Intense smoke conditions are expected in affected areas, and drivers are urged to use caution, drive with their lights on, and remain alert around other passenger and commercial vehicles.

The number of counties under a burn ban has increased to 84, after Menifee County joined the list.  Currently, there are 24 uncontrolled fires in the state, affecting over 26,000 acres.  The largest of those fires remains in Harlan County, affecting 7,400 acres.

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11/16/16 12:25 p.m.

Number of Counties Under Burn Ban Balloons to 83

The Kentucky Division of Forestry says that 80 counties are now under burn bans as dry conditions continue across the state.

A list of the 83 counties with complete bans is as follows: Adair, Ballard, Barren, Bath, Bell, Bourbon, Boyd, Breathitt, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Campbell, Carlisle, Carter, Casey, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Franklin, Fulton, Garrard, Graves, Green, Harlan, Harrison, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence,Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Magoffin, Marion, Marshall, Martin, Mason, Mercer, Metcalfe, McCracken, McCreary, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nicholas, Ohio, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Shelby, Todd, Trigg, Union, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Whitley, and Wolfe.

The Division of Forestry says there are 23 uncontrolled fires across the southeast region of the state, will just over 26,000 acres affected.  8 fires were contained on Tuesday, with 4 new fires breaking out.  The largest fire, known as the Nolansburg Fire, is in Harlan County, affecting about 7,400 acres.

Humidity levels remain at a “critically dry” level, meaning fuel is extremely flammable.  A cold front, expected to move in later this week, may bring additional moisture.

A fire prevention team has been created that will work to get the message out about preventing wildfires.

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11/15/16 12:44 a.m.

McCreary Co. Schools Closed due to heavy smoke

The U.S. Forest Service and the McReary Fire Department say heavy smoke in the Pine Knot area, and inside of Pine Knot School, has prompted the cancellation of school in the McCreary County School District for Tuesday.

That will make November 15th a Non-Traditional Instruction Day.

Packets have been sent home by schools, or are available on the McCreary County School District website.

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11/15/16 10:46 a.m.

With the start of modern gun deer season, the Kentucky Division of Forestry is reminding hunters to pat attention to burn bans, which include campfires.

If hunters see burning violations, they are asked to call 911 or the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at 1-800-25-ALERT.

Smokers are also asked to use extra caution and drown their butts in a water bottle.

There are currently 73 counties in the state that have complete burn bans (see map, above.)

There are a total of 27 uncontrolled fires across the Southeast region of the state, with just under 26,000 acres affected.  The largest fire remains in Harlan County, affecting a total of 7,400 acres.

The Division of Forestry says low humidity levels are making fuel extremely dry, but hope an upcoming cold front may bring some more moisture.  Southeast Kentucky is currently experiencing a severe drought, while the rest of the state is in a moderate drought.

Blackhawk helicopters from the National Guard are still in use, dropping water on fires.